Woman Held Captive on Scientology Cruise Ship for Over a Decade
Since childhood, Valeska Paris was a member of the Church of Scientology. Her parents were heavily involved, and made sure that she and her younger siblings got started early. Born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1977, Paris Valeska was put into a former Scientology organization known as the “Cadet Org” when she was only six years of age. That same year, her father left the family to join Scientology’s Sea Org.
dating services memphis tnAs part of the “Cadet Org”, youths were expected to work hard, dedicate their lives to becoming better Scientologists, and prepare themselves for the Sea Org… a group of hard core Scientologists who are expected to forgo having children, submit to manual labor, and more.
When Paris was 14, she did as was expected of her, and joined the Sea Org herself. She signed the billion year contract (yes, I’m serious) promising that with every lifetime she would return to the Church and work long hours for only $50 per week.
Meanwhile, her mother, Ariane Jackson, remarried a self made millionaire named Albert Jaquier. Over time, Jaquier loaned the bulk of his fortune to Scientology and its members, and was never repaid. Eventually, he committed suicide, which Jackson blamed on the Church and its unfair practices regarding monetary greed and control.
After Jaquier’s death, Jackson began to speak out publicly against Scientology. She began to demand that the Church repay her for damages related to her husband’s death. All the while, Paris was a hard working member of the Sea Org. She was disconnected from the outside world, so she was unaware of what her family was going through. Suddenly, in 1994, she was told that she needed to cut off all contact with her mother, being told that Jackson was an “oppressive person”. Paris reports that she was then locked in confined to her quarters at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida.
In 1996, after she turned 18, Paris was moved to the Freewinds; a Scientology owned cruise ship that sails around the Caribbean and caters only to the highest level members of the Church (think Tom Cruise). Sea Org members who live on the ship are expected to work day and night to keep up ship appearances while the wealthy elites are wined and dined. Paris claims she was told she’d only need to stay aboard the Freewinds for two weeks, but she ended up being kept for twelve years.
The first question most people, including myself would ask is, why didn’t she try to escape? Surely there were opportunities when the ship docked to run to authorities. Paris explains that for the first six years she was assigned an escort at all times. After this, she says she was brainwashed into believing that there was no hope for escape, so she just did her best not to upset her superiors.
“You’re so resigned to it,” she says. “I had grown up in Sea Org. I never had a bank account. You get 50 dollars a week. You don’t have a passport. [Paris claims passports were confiscated from crew members] If you want to leave the ship, you have to go down the gangway, and there’s a security guard there 24 hours a day.”
Paris tells harrowing stories of being punished for things beyond her control. At times she was confined to the engine room. Another story involves how she was put into the status of “Treason” (Church lingo for a person being punished for any number of violations) because she had the audacity to get a cold sore the same week that Tom Cruise was to come aboard to celebrate his birthday.
As time went on, Paris continued to get on the bad side of management, and eventually found herself in line to be sent to the RPF (Rehabilitation Project Force; basically Scientology’s version of prison) in Australia. Once there, she met Chris Guider. After they “graduated” from RPF, Paris and Guider got married and had a baby. This was strictly forbidden by Sea Org, but they didn’t care. They’d determined it was time to leave Scientology once and for all, and being sent to RPF turned out to be a blessing, because it finally got Paris off the ship.
Upon formally leaving the Church, Paris and her husband were told to sign a lengthy confidentiality agreement about their time in Sea Org. Desiring to just get on with her life, Paris signed the 15 page document, but her husband refused. She now regrets signing, but it has not stopped her from coming forward publicly.
When asked if she fears legal retribution from Scientology (notorious for suing those who disparage their “good” name), she says, “I spoke to Mike Rinder [chief spokesman for the Church]. He said that if you bring up David Miscavige [the Church’s flamboyantly arrogant and outspoken ecclesiastical leader and Chairman], there’s no way they’ll sue you, because they would never risk having him in court.”
As can be expected, the Church of Scientology has issued a response to Paris’ allegations. It says, in part, “The Freewinds is a wonderful place, as even Valeska said on numerous occasions. Her allegation that she could only leave the ship with an escort is totally false. ” It goes on to state, “That she now is attacking her former religion and former friends and fabricating these stories speaks volumes about her. She is a true apostate. So there is no doubt as to our position: Valeska is lying to you. She is an unreliable source.”
Their lengthy rebuttal can be seen here: buy tramadol online overnight delivery
For more on Paris’ story, click here:
Below, I’ve included the full episode of the BBC program “Panorama – The Secrets of Scientology”, in which the Church of Scientology is thoroughly exposed. It is a great primer for anyone who wants to know what goes on behind the scenes.